Jefferson County Community Ministries Breaks Ground on
New Community Services Center: The Neighbor Project
Charles Town, WV – With over 40 years of service to the Jefferson County community, Jefferson County Community Ministries (JCCM) hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking to begin the construction of The Neighbor Project: a new Community Services Center for the county.
Executive Director Keith Lowry stated, “Today marks the beginning of a new future for the people of Jefferson County with the inception of The Neighbor Project. The center will provide a centralized, upgraded, and permanent home for all of JCCM’s services, including our food pantry and clothing closet. We are pleased to partner with organizations to meet the needs of our neighbors by providing a medical and dental clinic, and the first family shelter in our region.”
Since 1983, JCCM has served homeless and at-risk populations in Jefferson County. The organization began as a coalition of five churches and has expanded into a covenant of over forty faith-based organizations throughout the county. JCCM currently provides a cold weather shelter, food pantry, clothing closet, acute medical treatment, day programming, and support services to over 4,000 total clients. With over 150 volunteers and 70 partner agencies supporting their mission, JCCM has defined what community means to the region.
“Today is a grand day in Jefferson County as we welcome the Neighbor Project to our community,” said Delegate Wayne Clark. “When you give back to those who are in need, you have truly reached high levels of success in your life.”
The first of its kind, the Community Services Center will be the first shelter in the Eastern Panhandle that will allow homeless and at-risk families to stay together while receiving services. While JCCM has offered a cold weather shelter during the winter months in the past, the Community Services Center will serve as a permanent shelter for families that will be open year-round.
“I am very thankful to say that the City of Ranson was a part of what is about to happen on this property,” remarked Mayor Duke Pierson. “I think that having Phase One get started will help people see what JCCM is doing in the community.”
In June of 2022, the City of Ranson donated a large tract of land, including two existing barn structures with over 26,000 square feet of space, located on Racetrack Street to JCCM to allow for the new center to be constructed. The groundbreaking begins the first phase of the project as construction begins. Over the next five years, JCCM plans to move all services and administrative offices to the Community Services Center, housing all their departments including their case management, health management, and pastoral care services under one roof.
“I’m very excited for what is going to happen here,” said Charles Town Mayor Bob Trainor. “I’m looking forward to Phases 2 and 3 and I am looking forward to making homelessness, through these efforts, a rare occurrence in our community.”
Currently, JCCM’s facility is in the center of Charles Town’s downtown retail district, making it difficult for individuals in need to access services. The new Center will be located on the border of Ranson and Charles Town, making it walkable, close to West Virginia DHHR offices and other local social service agencies.
“Through many generous opportunities we have been able to do this,” said Jake Cordell, JCCM’s Board President. “Through the three Phases and thousands of square feet that will need to be built we are excited for what will happen here and the lives that will be touched.”
Keith McIntosh, regional representative for U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, delivered remarks on behalf of Senator Manchin’s support of the project. “I am happy to lend my voice of support to Jefferson County Community Ministries as they bring much needed resources to this county. Providing people with the tools and services they need to be their best has made unmatched lasting change to Jefferson County and the surrounding area.”
Following the groundbreaking ceremony, community members were invited for tours of the existing structures located at the site of the Neighbor Project. Approximately 70 community leaders and citizens mingled and enjoyed refreshments in celebration of the Neighbor Project.
The Neighbor Project is looking for continued partners, donors, and supporters.
For more information on Jefferson County Community Ministries and how to donate, please visit www.jccm.us.